Title:
Enhanced retractable safety marker
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
An enhanced retractable safety marker is a device designed to provide motorists with advance warning of disabled vehicles and/or work zone areas. The device has been designed to withstand reasonable winds through the use of two base supports, several retractable horizontal stabilizers that fit through slots on the base supports and a series of retractable vertical risers. The retractable vertical risers allow for the device to easily expand to height consistent with traffic engineering design standards when in operation and then compact when it is in storage. The two base supports in combination with the retractable horizontal stabilizers are designed not only to provide the necessary structural stability but to also open and close about the retractable vertical risers thus providing for additional compactness. The shape of the vertical risers may either be rectangular, elliptical, square of circular depending on application and may have reflective decals affixed to them to correspond with standard traffic control design.



Inventors:
Tipaldo, John M. (Belle Harbor, NY, US)
Application Number:
11/008621
Publication Date:
06/15/2006
Filing Date:
12/10/2004
Primary Class:
International Classes:
E01F9/00
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:
20080247823ROAD MILLEROctober, 2008Will et al.
20050135878Temporary barrierJune, 2005Mcnally et al.
20060078384Pavement marking remover with/for skid steer tractorApril, 2006Jacob et al.
20090101553Filter system for catch basinsApril, 2009Lucas
20020057943Kerb and drainage installation and method and apparatus for fabrication thereofMay, 2002Charlesworth
20050220537Temporary traffic barrier and method of provision thereofOctober, 2005Bentley
20050008432Simplified "T" interchange designs for a "T" intersection of a divided expressway or freeway with a two lane highwayJanuary, 2005Lindsey
20020015618Concrete placing machine with hydraulic and concrete swivelFebruary, 2002Quenzi et al.
20040184879Roadway system interchangeSeptember, 2004Winkler
20090317187Construction Machine, In Particular Road Milling Machine, Miner, Recycler Or StabilizerDecember, 2009Bohme et al.
20080168926PavementJuly, 2008Muller et al.



Primary Examiner:
ADDIE, RAYMOND W
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
John Tipaldo (Belle Harbor, NY, US)
Claims:
What is claimed:

1. An enhanced retractable safety marker comprising of: Two separate base supports that are rectangular shaped with a top and at least one short side is open, at least one long side of the base support having a tab on the side adjacent to the “open” side of the base support, and a lower rectangular shaped riser that has holes to receive the tabs on the base supports, with a series of rectangular shaped middle and upper risers, where the upper riser is designed to fit within the middle risers and the middle risers are designed to fit within the lower riser.

2. The device of claim 1 wherein the base supports have slots into which horizontal stabilizers are inserted, the horizontal stabilizers are fully expanded when needed for additional load support.

3. 3-4. (canceled)

Description:

BACKGROUND AND SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

This application relates to means of alerting motorists to the presence of disabled vehicles or work zone areas. Each year hundreds of motorists are either killed or injured along side the roadway. Many of these accidents may be prevented if the oncoming motorist had advance warning of the presence of these disabled vehicles. The present invention is an improvement or alternative to my prior U.S. Pat. No. 6,508,195.

In recent years, a variety of traffic warning devices have become known and reference may be had to the following U.S. patents for a description of these prior art of traffic warning devices; U.S. Pat. Nos. Des. 6,508,195, 4,531,472, 5,263,272, 5,502,909, 5,544,614, 5,775,833, 5,517,395, 5,755,253, 4,535,331.

While this has long been recognized as a traffic safety problem many needless deaths continue to happen every year. Current methods of enhancing motorist awareness include; flares, solid plastic cones and retractable triangles. While all devices may accomplish the same goal as the presented invention, the presented invention is designed to help eliminate current difficulties encountered with their use. With roadside flares there is the inherent short fall that they only last a given period of time and are nor reusable. In addition, they are usually only several inches above the roadway service and may present difficulty in operating. Solid plastic cones are easy to place along the roadway however unless they are properly weighted and sized they may be displaced due to strong gusts of winds. In addition, the larger the cones the more storage space that is required. This is a disadvantage (especially in small passenger vehicles) and therefore reduces their attractiveness of the use. Retractable triangles are difficult to open and may require the motorist to follow detailed instruction prior to use. In addition they also take a significant amount of space when stored. The present invention is a significantly different than my prior U.S. Pat. No. 6,508,195 in that the porous casing and retractable arms are replaced by a single retractable support element. In U.S. Pat. No. 6,508,195 the porous casing allows for the wind to pass through the device thereby lessen the total force of the resistant winds. However, while this maybe advantageous for certain situations there exists a problem of excess wear and possible damage to the casing when exposed to high winds over a period of time. In addition, the single retractable support element replaces the two retractable arms and upper support element disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 6,508,195. This significantly reduces the cost of manufacturing and production.

In addition, the Enhanced Retractable Safety Marker has been designed to resist tipping at higher wind loads due to the introduction of retractable horizontal stabilizers that fit into slots on the base supports. Therefore with the same overall weight and storage space, the Enhanced Retractable Safety Marker would be able to withstand tipping at higher wind loads, without significantly increasing its cost when compared to the Retractable Safety Marker.

In addition, the current invention has been design to take various shapes commonly found with traffic control devices. These shapes include, rectangular, elliptical, square and circular.

Therefore the presented invention is designed to help eliminate shortfalls with the current devices. It is envisioned that by increasing the attractiveness, more people will carry the devices in their vehicles and a decrease in roadside fatalities and injuries would result.

The Enhanced Retractable Safety Marker has been designed to be employ easily, store compactly, withstand prevailing winds and be economical.

The Enhanced Retractable Safety Marker is a combination of several pieces. The first two pieces are referenced to as the base supports. The base supports are similar in design and function to the base supports disclosed in my prior U.S. Pat. No. 6,508,195. However contained with the base supports of the present invention are retractable horizontal stabilizers. The remaining pieces are a series of vertical risers. The actual number of vertical risers is dependant on the application.

The two base supports are intended to provide the necessary weight to ensure that the device is not displaced under reasonable wind loads. Each base support also has several strategically placed tabs. The base support is primarily a rectangular type box with the top end and one of the sides open. The long sides of the base support contain a tab at the “open” end of the box. These tabs are designed to allow the base support to be affixed to holes in the lowest vertical riser. In addition, the base supports may be designed with additional retractable horizontal stabilizers. The retractable horizontal stabilizers have been designed to slide into slots contained within the base support. The purpose of the retractable horizontal stabilizers is to increase the ability of the Enhanced Retractable Safety Marker to withstand higher wind loads with tipping.

The remaing pieces are a series of vertical risers consisting of either elliptical, rectangular, square or circular pieces that are sized to fit within each other. The choice of shape of the vertical risers corresponds to the type of traffic control device to be deployed. In addition, reflecvtive decals may be affixed to the vertical risers to conform with accepted traffic control device standards.

The Enhanced Retractable Safety Marker has been designed for easy placement during emergency situations. The first step in the application process is to rotate the two base supports from the closed to the open position (parallel with the lower portion of the retractable support element). Under high wind conditions, the user may fully extend the two retractable horizontal stabilizers on each base support to increase the unit's overall resistance to tipping. Once the base supports are in a fully extended position, the tabs on the lower vertical riser and slots on the base supports are designed to provide the necessary stability. After the base support is fixed in the open position, the series of vertical risers is then expanded by simply pulling in a vertical manner the handle on the upper vertical riser. This is continued until all the vertical risers are in fully extended position. At this point the invention is ready for application.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The subject matter which is regarded as the present invention is particularly pointed out and distinctly claimed in the concluding portion of the specification. The invention, however, both as to organization and method of practice, may be best understood by reference to the detailed description, taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, in which:

FIG. 1—Is a plan view of the current invention with rectangular vertical risers in the “expanded” and “open” position.

FIG. 2—Is a side view of the current invention with rectangular vertical risers in the “expanded” and “open” position.

FIG. 3—Is a side view of the current invention with rectangular vertical risers in the “retracted” and “open” position.

FIG. 4—Is a side view of the current invention with rectangular vertical risers in the “retracted” and “closed” position.

FIG. 5—is a perspective view of the current invention with rectangular vertical risers in the “expanded” and “open” position.

FIG. 6—is a perspective view of the current invention with rectangular vertical risers in the “retracted” and “open” position.

FIG. 7—is a perspective view of the current invention with rectangular vertical risers in the “retracted” and “closed” position.

FIG. 8—is a plan view of the current invention with either circular or square vertical risers in the “expanded” and “open” position.

FIG. 9—is a side view of the current invention with either circular or square vertical risers in the “expanded” and “open” position.

FIG. 10—is a side view of the current invention with either circular or square vertical risers in the “retracted” and “closed” position.

FIG. 11—is a plan view of the current invention with elliptical vertical risers in the “expanded” and “open” position.

FIG. 12—is a side view of the current invention with elliptical vertical risers in the “expanded” and “open” position.

FIG. 13—is a side view of the current invention with elliptical vertical risers in the “retracted” and “closed” position.

FIG. 14—is a perspective view of the current invention in the “expanded” and “open” position with rectangular vertical risers, showing cross sectional line A-A.

FIG. 15—is cross-sectional view of the vertical riser across line A-A from FIG. 14, detailing the typical “notch” and “bulb” connection between successive vertical risers

FIG. 16—a plan view of the base support

FIG. 17—a plan view of the base support with the horizontal stabilizer

FIG. 18—a side view of the base support

FIG. 19—a side view of the base support with the horizontal stabilizer

FIG. 20—a top view of the base support

FIG. 21—a top view of the base support with the horizontal stabilizer

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

Reference will now be made to the drawings in which the various elements of the present invention will be given numerical designations. In its present form the invention consists of several distinct elements. These elements when combined as described within will allow one of ordinary skill in the art to made and use the present invention.

Referring to FIG. 5, the current invention is compromised of two base supports (1) that are attached to the lower rectangular vertical riser (2), a series of middle rectangular vertical risers (7) and an upper rectangular vertical riser (8). FIGS. 3 and 4 illustrate the base supports (1) rotating about the lower rectangular vertical riser (2) from a parallel position to a perpendicular one. Contain within the base supports (1) are rectangular or circular support weights (4). These support weights (4) are designed to help the total sign support structure resist displacement under high wind conditions. Also contained on the base supports are clasps (3) used to secure the device when in the “retracted” and “closed” position. Contained within the lower rectangular vertical riser is a series of middle rectangular vertical risers (6) capable of extending into a fixed position when the upper rectangular vertical riser (7) is extended to its maximum height. The upper rectangular vertical riser is lifted by use of a handle (8) on its top-side. The lower, middle and upper rectangular vertical risers (2,6,7) may be either slightly tapered and/or have a combination of “notches” and “bulbs” which would essentially lock the vertical portion of the invention into place when all the risers are fully extended. The lower, middle and upper rectangular vertical risers (2,6,7) are secured in place when fully extended by either friction or by a series of “notches” (20) and “bulbs” (21) on each vertical riser. This “notch” and “bulb” connection is illustrated in FIG. 15.

As illustrated in FIGS. 8, 9 and 10 the lower (2), middle (6) and upper (7) rectangular vertical risers previously disclosed have been replaced by circular or square shaped lower (22), middle (66) and upper (77) vertical risers. As illustrated in FIGS. 11, 12 and 13 the lower (2), middle (6) and upper (7) rectangular vertical risers previously disclosed have been replaced by elliptical shaped lower (222), middle (666) and upper (777) vertical risers.

Regardless of the shape of the vertical risers the operation of the present invention is the same.

As an additional element the bases support (1) may be designed with additional retractable horizontal stabilizers (30). The retractable horizontal stabilizers are illustrated in FIGS. 14, 16 and 18. The retractable horizontal stabilizers (30) have been designed to slide into slots contained within the base support (1). The purpose of the retractable horizontal stabilizers (30) is to increase the ability of the Enhanced Retractable Safety Marker to withstand higher wind loads without tipping.

To deploy the current invention, the user simply rotates the two base supports into a locked position perpendicular to the lower vertical riser, fully extend the retractable horizontal stabilizers and then lift the series of middle and upper vertical riser into a locked vertical position.